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Jason Amerine: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Jason Amerine appears before judging the 17th annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 27, 2013. (Getty)

Jason Amerine, a retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Special Forces, has accused James Mattis of leaving his men to die.

James “Mad Dog” Mattis was recently unveiled as President-Elect Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary, inspiring Amerine to write a Facebook post about him. Although the incident Amerine describes is not a new revelation, it will likely gain increased attention in the weeks leading up to Mattis’ confirmation hearing.

Here’s everything you need to know about James Amerine and his experience with James Mattis.


1. He Fought Against the Taliban and Received a Purple Heart

Jason Amerine fought against the Taliban in Afghanistan. (Facebook/Jason Amerine)

Jason Amerine fought against the Taliban in Afghanistan. (Facebook/Jason Amerine)

Amerine, a graduate of West Point, was assigned to help overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan not long after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. He fought with Hamid Karzai, who would go on to become the president of Afghanistan.

During his time in Afghanistan, Amerine led his men to several key victories against the Taliban including in Shawali Kowt and Sayyd Alma Kalay.

In December 2001, not long after Hamid Karzai became the president of Afghanistan, Amerine and some of his men were hit by friendly fire. A U.S. smart bomb killed three American soldiers and dozens of Afghans. This incident was described in the book The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Fought for a New Afghanistan by Eric Blehm, which became a New York Times bestseller.


2. He Says Mattis Refused Requests for Help

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James Mattis testifies before the Senate Armed Service Committee. (Getty)

Recalling the incident when he and his men were hit by friendly fire, Amerine says that Mattis, who at the time was a brigadier general, refused several requests for helicopter rescue. He would not send a helicopter unit that was 45 minutes away; instead, an Air Force Special Operations Command, which was three hours away, immediately went in to rescue the men, according to NBC News.

Amerine believes that Sergeant Brian Cody Prosser, who died on the way to the hospital, may have survived if not for Mattis’ inaction.

“Maybe Mattis was a good general later in his career by whatever standard you want but it has been bizarre to suddenly see these facts up for debate,” Amerine writes on Facebook. “He was indecisive and betrayed his duty to us, leaving my men to die during the golden hour when he could have reached us.”

According to NBC News, witnesses said that Mattis did not want to send a rescue mission into an uncertain situation, unsure whether the area was secure.


3. He Says It’s Ironic That Mattis Later Fired a Commander for Indecisiveness

US Marine Corps General James Mattis waits to testify before the Senate Armed Service Committee for his reappointment to the grade of general and to be commander of the United States Central Command or CENTCOM on July 27, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Mattis was nominated to replace General David Petraeus who formally took over command of the Afghan war after Obama sacked General Stanley McChrystal over an interview to Rolling Stone magazine. AFP PHOTO / Tim SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

James Mattis waits to testify before the Senate Armed Service Committee for his reappointment to the grade of general and to be commander of the United States Central Command or CENTCOM on July 27, 2010 on Capitol Hill. (Getty)

Mattis gained media attention in 2003 when he stripped Marine Col. Joe Dowdy of his command. At the time, it was not clear why such a high-ranking official was fired, but it later became apparent that it was because of what Mattis felt was indecisiveness on Dowdy’s part.

Specifically, in Baghdad Dowdy led his men in a mission to a city populated by some of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard soldiers. They were not meant to engage with the men directly, with Dowdy’s team instead serving as a decoy so that another unit could rush in from the northwest. But things did not go according to plan; Dowdy’s division had their path blocked by a firefight. Dowdy and his men ended up being stuck outside of the city for 24 hours, not knowing what to do. It was this sort of indecisiveness that lead to Dowdy’s removal, with a spokesman for the First Marine Division telling The Wall Street Journal that stripping him of his command was “a decision based on operating tempo.”

In his Facebook post, Jason Amerine says it’s ironic that this is what made James Mattis famous considering, in his view, Mattis’ being hesitant was exactly what got his men killed.

“Mattis was never held accountable but maybe he learned from it,” Amerine wrote. “After all, he relieved one of his battalion commanders two years later for being too hesitant in combat, just as he had been at Rhino (which we all found terribly ironic).”


4. Mattis is Known for His Blunt Quotes

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James Mattis testifies before the Senate Armed Service Committee hearing for his reappointment to the grade of general and to be commander of the United States Central Command or CENTCOM on July 27, 2010. (Getty)

Mattis has in recent years earned a reputation for his blunt, somewhat colorful quotes that have been turned into online memes and even quoted in the occasional video game. One of the most famous is, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

He has also said that it’s “fun to shoot some people,” that “there are some a–holes in the world that that just need to be shot,” and he reportedly once told Taliban fighters, “If you f-ck with me, I’ll kill you all.”

In his Facebook post, Amerine expressed disappointment that this quality of Mattis has been looked at as a positive thing.

“Thanks to Facebook mob mentality, there has been a revisionist history of the man who left us to die but is now compared to Patton due to his juvenile quotes that demean all of us as service members,” Amerine wrote.


5. Amerine Was Cleared of Wrongdoing in a Whistleblowing Case

Jason Amerine recently retired after being cleared of wrongdoing in a whistleblowing case. (Facebook/Jason Amerine)

Jason Amerine recently retired after being cleared of wrongdoing in a whistleblowing case. (Facebook/Jason Amerine)

In early 2015, Jason Amerine raised concern to Congress about the process through which the United States government conducts negotiations to retrieve hostages. This was after Amerine lead a team with the mission of bringing home Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

Amerine reached out to Representative Duncan Hunter, hoping Hunter could help in his efforts to improve America’s policy on freeing hostages. Amerine was subsequently fired and the subject of an investigation from the Army Criminal Investigation Command after being accused of sharing classified information. Representative Hunter complained and classified this as a “retaliatory investigation” meant to silence Hunter.

“The investigation undermines the right of service members to petition the government, and appears to violate the statutory protections for military whistleblowers,” Hunter said at the time, according to The Washington Post. 

“When I began speaking to Congress in 2013, some form of retaliation was inevitable because our First Amendment right to speak to Congress is so often disregarded,” Amerine later wrote on Facebook. “It was Greek tragedy that a senior Army officer dragged the Army ignominiously into this by initiating the illegal investigation. The hostage issues I raised had nothing to do with the Army and everything to do with broken institutions at the agency level that refused to admit their faults.”

Amerine was ultimately cleared of wrongdoing, and in November 2015 he was honored at a Pentagon retirement ceremony, according to The Washington Times.

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5 comments

  1. If General Mattis was guilty of not sending rescue aircraft, why did then-Captain Amerine comment:

    “Brave pilots took to the skies immediately to fly across Afghanistan in broad daylight to get us out. The doctors, nurses and technicians who cared for our wounded kept us alive. The quality of the care we received… the love and devotion showed by everyone to my wounded … will never be forgotten by my men or me. We could not have penetrated so deep behind enemy lines without faith that they would be there for us. Our faith was requited on that dark day.”

    (U.S ARMY SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE, FORT BRAGG, NC 28310 Release Number: 112-05 Date: 12-Dec-01)

    Also, in response to the question “What happened on December 5?” during PBS
    interviews in July 2002, why did CAPT Amerine make the following statements?

    “On the morning of December 5 … the headquarters was directing air strikes against the ridge line across from us. One of the guys messed up and brought in the bomb on us. So when the bomb hit them, the last count that I got, the latest number was I lost about 27 of my guerrillas. JD AND DAN DIED INSTANTLY REALLY. CODY… LIVED FOR A WHILE, BUT THERE WASN’T ANYTHING THAT COULD BE DONE FOR HIM REALLY.”

    And

    “Mike had a major shrapnel wound to his chest that was affecting everything — his heart, his lungs. His other wrist was pretty badly injured and he had some other lacerations. … Everybody else was wounded to one extent or another. We just went to work stabilizing everybody, and it worked. I MEAN THE GUYS THAT DIED — THERE WAS NO HELPING THEM. “From the guys on my team, everybody else lived.”

    So, for all these years, Amerine, who was so horrified by Mattis’ inaction, remained silent? And now, nearly fifteen years after the event, Amerine takes to Facebook to vilify Mattis?

    Finally, in Amerine’s own words at the end of the Stars and Stripes article, “Cody died around the time we reached Rhino and I was told at least two Afghans died because of the delay but NOBODY KNOWS FOR CERTAIN.”

    • This is a case of poor reading comprehension on your part…..the Marines did not send rescue, though they were only 45 minutes away. AFSOC, which is Air Force, scrambled despite being three hours away. So, yes…the Air Force did rescue personnel after GEN Mattis declined to.

      Cody died upon reaching Rhino….several HOURS after he was injured. Yes, there was most likely nothing that could be done for him THERE, lying in the dirt on the plains of Afghanistan. Spent much time there? I have.

      Also, LTC Amerine did not remain silent….the event is highly detailed in the book by Eric Blehm. If a New York Times Best Seller is remaining silent, what would have been appropriate action? Should he have rented billboards as well?

      You are attempting to anonymously defend the indefensible……Special Forces called for assistance and Mattis provided NONE. He left those men to die. The Air Force pilots and crew had more balls than the Marines. Not because the Marines in his command couldn’t or wouldn’t have responded in spectacular fashion…but because Mattis kept his devil dogs on a short leash. A shame and a tragedy all the way around.

  2. If General Mattis was guilty of not sending rescue aircraft, why did then-Captain Amerine comment:

    “Brave pilots took to the skies immediately to fly across Afghanistan in broad daylight to get us out. The doctors, nurses and technicians who cared for our wounded kept us alive. The quality of the care we received… the love and devotion showed by everyone to my wounded … will never be forgotten by my men or me. We could not have penetrated so deep behind enemy lines without faith that they would be there for us. Our faith was requited on that dark day.”

    (U.S ARMY SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE, FORT BRAGG, NC 28310 Release Number: 112-05 Date: 12-Dec-01)

    Also, in response to the question “What happened on December 5?” during PBS
    interviews in July 2002, why did CAPT Amerine make the following statements?

    “On the morning of December 5 … the headquarters was directing air strikes against the ridge line across from us. One of the guys messed up and brought in the bomb on us. So when the bomb hit them, the last count that I got, the latest number was I lost about 27 of my guerrillas. JD AND DAN DIED INSTANTLY REALLY. CODY… LIVED FOR A WHILE, BUT THERE WASN’T ANYTHING THAT COULD BE DONE FOR HIM REALLY.”

    And

    “Mike had a major shrapnel wound to his chest that was affecting everything — his heart, his lungs. His other wrist was pretty badly injured and he had some other lacerations. … Everybody else was wounded to one extent or another. We just went to work stabilizing everybody, and it worked. I MEAN THE GUYS THAT DIED — THERE WAS NO HELPING THEM. “From the guys on my team, everybody else lived.”

    So, for all these years, Amerine, who was so horrified by Mattis’ inaction, remained silent? And now, nearly fifteen years after the event, Amerine takes to Facebook to vilify Mattis?

    Finally, in Amerine’s own words at the end of the Stars and Stripes article, “Cody died around the time we reached Rhino and I was told at least two Afghans died because of the delay but NOBODY KNOWS FOR CERTAIN.”

  3. With all the great choices I think Mattis is a poser that was but hurt his Marines did not get the VIP missions and turned his back on the Army.Mattis has been known to say the rest of the armed forces are just for show and The Marines are all we need.Some liberals are calling Mattis a modern day Patton.For starters Patton won several hundred battles and WW2 and led from the front. Mattis set in a command bunker for 4 battles in 41 years of service.He pulled a Obama/Clinton Benghazi by playing Marine/Army politics.If that is not enough he had command recommend him for a bronze star with a V device for sitting in a secure bunker with 24/7 catered gourmet buffet.Mattis does not even have a CAB Mattis goes out for a photo op and eats a MRE with some man and women Marines and goes back to his CC bunker and reads books while the other Marines do the dirty work.Patton would slap Mattis silly and send him packing.I like Trump but I strongly dislike Mattis.

  4. Good thing Amerine worked so hard on trading hard core enemies for a deserter. One who’s comrades were wounded and killed trying to find him and rescue. The only whistle he blows is his own. Just another LTC too many too easy to make. Good Job lost me when the deserter’s name came up.